About Madrid

Madrid 2011 and 2023. Click here for the stopover in 2016.

Skylines and views   Views from Faro de Moncloa    
Gran Via  

Plaza de España

  Plaza Mayor
Puerta del Sol
incl. Plaza del Callao   And our hotel   Plaza San Miguel, Plaza Canalejas, Plaza de la Villa, Calle de Alcalá, Calle Mayor
Palacio   Plaza de Cibeles
Plaza de Cañovas
  Plaza de Santa Ana

Palacio Real, Almudena Cathedral, Plaza de Oriente, Plaza de Isabel II, Campo del Mori, Jardines de Sabartani


Plaza Lealtad,
Puerta de Alcalá,
Paseo/Museo del Prado

  Plaza del Angel, Huertas, Cañizares

Plaza de Emperador
Atocha Station
La Latina   Plaza del Colón

Calle Atocha



  Columbus Square



Parque de Retiro
Jardín Botánico


Parque del Oeste
Temple de Debod

  Campo del Mori
-the royal park 


Cuatro Torres   Plaza de Castilla   ACZA district
The 4 towers   Puerta de Europa,
  Bernabéu Stadium,
Hospital de Maudes,
Paseo de Castellana

Moncloa   East Madrid    
Arco de La Victoria, Faro de Moncloa, North Parque del Oeste and Museo de América   Plaza Dalí, Goya, Salamanca, Paseo de la Castellana, Torre Espana    
Barajas       Casa de Campo
Airport and district       Park and district

Madrid by night - 1   Madrid by night - 2   Reina Sofia
Gran Via, Calle Alcala, Plaza Cibeles, Plaza Cañovas, Plaza Lealtad   - Palacio Real, Plaza de Espana, Plaza de Santa Ana, Plaza de la Villa, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Reina Sofia, Barajas   National Museum of Modern Art

Metro   Store fronts/displays   Guide service Toledo


Population: 3 256 000 (metro 5 843 000)
Capital of Spain
Tallest building: Torre Caja Madrid (250m, built 2008)
Language: Spanish
Founded: 9th century as al-Mudaina
Province: Madrid
Autonomous community: Madrid
Area: 607 km² (metro 10 506 km²)

Year visited: 2011, 2023 (2016)


In February 2011 I visited Madrid, the capital and largest city of Spain, for a week . The weather was nice considering we arrived from the terrible Swedish winter, it was always sunny, never rained and about 15 degrees C most of the times. I liked Madrid a lot since I think it has much to offer with many contrasts.

Madrid has diverse architecture styles from art beaux and jugend to modernism and futurism, hectic avenues and picturesque, relaxed pedestrian streets and the homeless people are sleeping next to 5 star hotels.  The city center is vibrant 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but there are also relaxed, almost dead areas. In the city center you can find large scale palaces and some of the most beautiful, nice plazas with open-air restaurant, cozy stores and some of the most impressive buildings in Europe, but just a few blocks from the royal castle the magnificent city center ends and a suburban landscape of dull highrise blocks begin, surrounded by highways and shopping malls. If you don't speak Spanish a phrase book can help when shopping.

But one thing you see everywhere is parks: both in the city center and the outskirts. Madrid has some of the most beautiful parks I ever visited, as well as some really grandiose plazas with a lot of traffic a la Paris. The most important parks are Parque Retiro, that lies on the East side of the city center and Parque del Oeste, that lies on the west side. The 3 most importants squares are Plaza de Espana, where our hotel was, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. The most famous streets are Gran Via and Calle Alcalá with their beautiful early 20th century highrise buildings and palaces filled with banks, hotels, offices and exclusive stores. In the outskirts you can find some of the tallest and most striking skyscrapers in Europe. The 4 tallest buildings in Spain are situated in Madrid.

Some of the most famous buildings in Madrid are Edificio Metrópolis, Palacio de Communicaciones, EdificioTelefónica, Edificio España, Torre Picasso, Torre Caja Madrid, Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia.The latter ones are 2 world famous art museums that we visited.

Madrid is partly very hilly and the mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama are visible from some spots. Something you don’t see much of in Madrid is water; it is located in the inland and there are no canals or sea nearby.  Río Manzanares flows through the city, but it is hidden below the city center and I never saw it. However, there are so many other good things about the city, so I didn’t really miss the water. Madrid feels like a comparatively safe city considering its size, it felt ok to go alone on most of the main streets in the city center even in the night, but Gran Via felt a bit obscure during midnight.

I stayed at the 4 star Mercure Hotel near Plaza de Espana, a very nice (but a bit worn) hotel with a beautiful interior. As my travel partner had to leave earlier, I spent the last 3 days alone and saved money by staying at a hostel, Cat’s Hostel near Calle Atocha. A very simple place (I shared room), but very cheap and located in a building in moorish style.

I also visited Toledo, a very beautiful historical city that will be presented in a separate part.

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